rhivolution: Janelle Monáe is giving you a low look (fuck gender: Janelle Monáe)
Well, I am back in Britain and no longer on jetlag time, two weeks later, and mostly just getting by. Glasgow has had nothing approaching 'summer', not even the British variant of summer (e.g. a pleasant temperature and not raining), which is disheartening as we come into August and I think of those Stevie Nicks lyrics* and anticipate the seasons to come.

If you needed to be convinced about climate change--and I'm hoping if you read my journal that you don't--the weather here in Britain for the last few years is quite good anecdotal evidence. Gwyneth Jones wrote a YA book under her Ann Halam pseud half a dozen years ago or so TEN YEARS AGO, says Wikipedia (Siberia), where the jet stream has moved due to global climate change, leaving Scotland a tundra, and while I don't buy that exact outcome, I do buy the notion that the weather here is becoming increasingly fucked.(Incidentally, I enjoyed that book a lot more than I have any of Jones' writing for adults. I've written about this before here and elsewhere...her issues with mothering and motherhood creep.me.out. Thinking on it more, Jones sorta is the Christopher Nolan of feminist SF for me, in that her work is very technically interesting and impressive, but I just can't quite get emotionally attached to her characters. They leave me rather cold.)

On reading! I did manage to finish Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword on holiday, and perhaps I was the only person who liked Sword better, I'm not sure. I've sorta parsed out my reasons why and hope to do a blog post one of these evers.

From a foodie perspective, I also finally read Gabrielle Hamilton's 2011 memoir (Blood, Bones, and Butter). While Hamilton's got...some personal issues that I feel could really use some deeper self-analysis...I really identify with her career narrative:
- falling into a job (cooking)
- feeling like she's not changing the world or using her potential, so going back to school (writing)
- finding out that the reality of doing that dream as a career is not great
- going back to old job for productivity and meaning and eventually developing that into a career
And then she ends up writing a top-rated memoir, publishing essays, and winning awards for her writing too, which leads me to, at least, a bit of hope for my media self. I just need to actually Do The Thing.

On fandom--thinking, very vaguely, about getting back into RPing again, because [personal profile] lizzy is convincing, but that would also mean that my brain needs to be better at not freaking out about reading friend lists/circles, thus not flaking out. I hate flaking out.

So yes, stuff is stuff, hello, tell me interesting things.

* "And the summer became the fall/I was not ready for the winter", from 'Nightbird', though the FM folk here probably guessed that.
rhivolution: Gwen and Morgana from BBC Merlin, giving each other a sidelong look (grace to the strong: Gwen/Morgana)
So I finished The Broken Kingdoms. It took a while for me to get into it, thanks to these periods of time where my brain does not want to read fiction, but then hit the whole holy shit compelling stage a couple days ago and finished.

It was good, but would have been better if only vaguely spoilery stuff. )

In other news, don't think I'm gonna play POTF this month, nae energy.
rhivolution: artistic photo of Olivia Wilde (everybody lies: 13)
A few wee points before I go make myself a snack:

- Tepper's The Visitor, in synopsis:

PEOPLE: [do stuff]
APOCALYPSE: [happens]
PEOPLE: [do stuff]
WEIRD SHIT: [happens]

could have been better. I've enjoyed some of her lesser books more, mostly because I found the setting/characters hard to relate to. a bit spoilery in the vague sense )

- [personal profile] alexandraerin has it right on the nose with what bugged me about DW Xmas this year--namely, she notes the unclear gender stuff, whether or not Moff is taking the piss. (spoilers)

- I've got both mine in TR New Year's top levels, should you be interested! Going to meet reqs despite failing most of the month with work stress.

Happy Gregorian New Year's Eve!
rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
Ugh, I am utterly exhausted, and I just have no motivation to post. Augh. So.

Poll #8251 poll, now with added poll flavour
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16

What would you like to see me go on about?

View Answers

Culture shock is always fun.
12 (75.0%)

Always Coming Home and other books you've enjoyed lately.
8 (50.0%)

Make a fanmix about something!
4 (25.0%)

Gender trouble.
9 (56.2%)

Something else I will elucidate below.
2 (12.5%)

Other stuff! More stuff! What stuff?

rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
Back now. Completely wiped. Jet lag is like a hangover without the fun bit beforehand. And, in some semblance of utter dumbassery, I decided I should work tomorrow and Friday. I need to not be allowed to make decisions.

In better news, I neglected to mention that my copy of LeGuin's Always Coming Home came with me on my travels, and it's so very much a book that improves with the number of reads (I think this is my fourth). The first time or two, I was very much must piece together the narrative, and I'm finally past that point and to one where I can read it as the cultural anthropology as it's intended to be.

By the by, Matt got me the 40th anniversary edition of Left Hand of Darkness for our anniversary, bless him.

Losing coherence, but one last point: I intend to do an SOTP, if anyone from TR is interested. Please remind me to do so.
rhivolution: sepiaish image of J Brooks as Ghanima Atreides, positioned defensively against a wall & brandishing a knife (cuts like a crysknife: Ghanima Atreides)
With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lesslikepie who posted it most recently, among others.

Unbelievably white! Also male! What else is new!

Behind the cut, I have opinions. )
rhivolution: Uhura from Star Trek TOS, leaning over and laughing (oh hell yes: Uhura (TOS))
Uh, cause I can. Taken from various people. And I do not have my David Tennant Reading English Teacher icon anymore, sad day.

The book I am reading:
Madhur Jaffrey's memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees. It's a reread, but there's a lot to it I didn't remember, and I'm looking at it in a new light--how she grew up both privileged and colonised. I also have a bunch of things queued up, most notably The Knife of Never Letting Go.

The book I am writing:
Exists mostly in my head, where it's lived since 2005, and in about 6K of Word file that's two years old. Fail. It is sort of a future version of Heroes meets Maximum Ride (which I haven't even read) with a side of China Mountain Zhang.

The book I love most:
Uh, I can't pick just one. I need to find my copy of The Stand: Complete and Uncut when I'm back in the US in August. I miss it terribly. I also connect a lot to Nicola Griffith's Slow River for some reason, and if you'd asked me this question ten years ago, my answer would have been The Mists of Avalon.

The last book I received as a gift:
Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay, which I still need to read. Books I own end up at the bottom of the pile, sadly, compared to library books, which is part of why I only buy things I've read.

The last book I gave as a gift:
Lols. I gave Patricia Finney's kids book Jack and Police Dog Rebel to Matt for Valentine's Day, because he has the first one (I, Jack) and wanted it for ages.
Fun fact: when he was wee, Matt wanted to be a police dog.

The nearest book on my desk:
There aren't any, I'm at the dining table. SAD DAY. I will randomly pick one from Matt's bookshelf right behind me: Naomi Klein, No Logo.

Also, I would like to add, because I want to promote someone...

The last book I bought for myself:
Julian May, Intervention, used at the Oxfam bookstore in Victoria Road. Now, Julian May (who is female, by the by) is the most awesome science fiction writer you have not read. She's not exactly feminist, per se, and she is probably not without problematic things. But her SF books are like if someone took Anne McCaffrey's Talent series and crossed them with X-Men, then gave it teeth. Intragroup issues and benevolent aliens who still might kill you for the greater good and family problems and a whole planet colonized by Scots that is not ridiculous Caldos, thx TNG. (And that's just the prequel series to the original, which has that stuff and one-way time travel and evil alien overlords...I do think the prequel is a bit more sound, but ymmv.)

So yes, SF fans should read Julian May. Her fantasy books aren't bad either, I just like SF.
rhivolution: low-on-spoons girl from Hyperbole and a Half: 'clean ALL the things?' (clean ALL the things?: out of spoons)
The whole piracy of ebooks thing...yeah.

[personal profile] vito_excalibur wrote a good post elucidating her position, a lot of which I agree with, and [livejournal.com profile] karenhealey said some stuff in response in the LJ comments that rang really wrong to me, but I couldn't really put my finger on why. I've come back after dinner to find some responses by [personal profile] deepad (The politics of discussing illegal file-sharing) and [personal profile] colorblue (this is not a post about yoga!) that are very good in pointing out just exactly what I hadn't quite processed: just how Western the concept of intellectual property rights is, as it exists now.

Additional posts on this topic can be found at [personal profile] troisroyaumes' roundup.

So, before I start talking about my own POV, please consider that there are other important viewpoints on the topic...but those non-Western views dovetail with my own concept.

I find it really problematic to say that you shouldn't access books illegally at all, full stop.

Firstly, I was fortunate enough to grow up in an area with a really good public library system, then went to college in an area with a fairly good library system as well; both are in the US.* Therefore, I have been privileged enough to expect to read nearly anything I want for free, given time and patience. And frankly, while in the US, I never really had the money to buy as many new books as I read, considering the cost of hardcovers and trade paperbacks even before the advent of ebooks. (I read a LOT.)

This is generally true of me overall: I don't like to buy things I don't want to own and consume again. Period.

In comparison to my past experience, the UK library system has been lacking. Birmingham was quite bad, Glasgow is better but not as good as what I'd like. According to people I've spoken to--anecdotal, but a variety of people nonetheless--the system is not as good as it was decades ago. And now, government cuts are suspected to be ripping the remaining guts out sooner rather than later.

So yeah, go ahead, tell me to make a request at my library, so they can buy a copy of your book so I can read it. They won't laugh in my face, exactly.

Assuming they can even buy a copy of your book at all, which brings me to my second point.

I now live in Britain (still Western, still with a high standard of living), but many books, even on major publishers, do not always come out here, and vice versa. (There are, for example, loads of books by FSF author Gwyneth Jones that are on a major UK imprint but completely inaccessible in the US. There's also a Jones book on Aqueduct Press that doesn't have a UK publisher, but I don't blame Aqueduct for that, it being indie.) And I really can't afford the absolutely ridiculous cost of buying from the US and shipping. Most people I know don't have that kind of expendable income. And I'm not sure why Karen Healey didn't really address this very satisfactorily (imho) in her own post.

This is not the authors' fault, but the fault of the publishing industry. What needs to be done, in my mind, is what needs to be done with television: a revision and opening of international licensing, as well as a revision of ereader accessibility and restriction. (I mean, I'd like something better, like government-funded universal library access and Creative Commons reuse/remix stuff. But that ain't happening in the current socioeconomic model.)

So...I'm kinda descending into incoherency and must sum up: I don't want to whinge about how I can't get a bunch of books...though, frankly, it frustrates me on a regular basis.

Instead, there's a deeper issue here of which my life only skims the surface due to privilege: saying that piracy is universally terrible and what...it's not good, but there is often no other access option. (Now, you don't want to go wave that in an author's face, that's just fucking stupid. And, as I noted, most authors can do fuck-all about the situation anyway.) In a globalised society, seeing reviews and recs for things dangling out of the reach of people with limited funds or not in the US stings like hell. You have to globalise access, and not just to the Western world, either.

Kinda comes down to bread and roses, friends. Bread and roses.

ETA: I believe everyone should have access to information if they want it. Less about entitlement, more about fulfilling the bullshit lip service towards this sort of thing that's been going on for ages.

* I'm not fond of US government/bureaucracy overall; this is actually probably the biggest thing I miss from the US system. Except perhaps the US Postal Service.
rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
I don't usually do these but she isn't on Twitter, which is where I usually send birthday wishes, and no one's made a post yet.

So happy birthday to [personal profile] thoracopagus: you are pretty awesome and I am glad you don't hate me.

Randomly, I really really wish this sinusy migraine would go away. And I finally found out why my local library had Kick-Ass on display in the Scottish Authors area...because Mark Millar who is sorta the Midas of fail, really is a Scot. Yes, I did not know this. Shut up.

In other news, it's Twelfth Night, which not only makes me think of my fav WShakes play but also of E.L. Konigsberg's twisted kids' book Up from Jericho Tel, which is my favourite of hers and also one that no one else ever read.

And you won't get why unless you've read it. Sigh.
rhivolution: the Starfleet emblem, on black background (undiscovered country: Star Trek)
A couple of random points:

- I am nearly done with Professor Layton and the Lost Future. The plot of this one is a massively convoluted WTF on the level of last week's Community, but it's fun. One really annoying point is Read more... )

- That reminds me that I totally need to pick a PB for Bonnie Macfarlane before 1 December. White US American, blonde, late-20s, NOT girly...any suggestions?

- [personal profile] onceupon is looking for book recs both here and at LJ. I am no help because I'm really in the same boat she is (I read non-fiction and SFF almost exclusively of late), so read her post and help me too.

- I didn't have the heart to start a flame war while she can't moderate go tell the dude in her LJ post that I don't think his list of authors is appropriate in light of what M says in her post about what she likes to read, except for a bit of William Gibson, so I'm saying it here. They're all postmodernist white dudes, and while some postmodernist white dude writing is okay, it would not be my exclusive go-to list of reading material. Also, I had a hell of a time schlepping through Iain M Banks (I will try again soon, seeing as most UK SF sections are at least one-third Culture novels), and Jonathan Lethem's SFy books are just way too esoteric. It's like he can't decide whether or not to be Bradbury or Vonnegut but with that style that's just so very...90s hipster.

You know what I mean. I may have read too many of those sort of books in high school. They don't have ENDINGS. I'm looking at you, Chip Kidd.
rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
So I sorta promised [personal profile] were_duck on Twitter that I would talk about N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I plowed through at lightspeed the other day and really enjoyed.

I want to talk about it, badly...I just have no idea where to start. I suppose I could start with a couple of points and people can work outwards from there. Please try to keep comments at one journal (preferably Dreamwidth? idek) so that everyone can follow the discussion.
Spoilers below and in comments. )